April 20: Public Hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Landmark Compassionate Use Act

Press Release April 18, 2005
Media Contact

Michael Blain at (646) 335-2241 or Rep. Laura Hall at (256) 656-2301

MONTGOMERY–On Wednesday, April 20th, the House Judiciary committee will consider House Bill 703, the Compassionate Use Act. This measure would allow seriously ill and dying patients access to medical marijuana for relief of their symptoms. The compassionate use bill, which is sponsored by Representative Laura Hall (D-Madison), would provide patients with specific, serious illnesses access to the medicine when prescribed by a doctor. According to a 2004 Mobile-Register/University of Alabama poll, 76% of Alabama residents think that adults should be allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes if prescribed by a doctor.

Cullman resident Laura Campbell, a 32-year-old mother of three, suffers from various debilitating diseases, including three forms of arthritis and fibromyalgia syndrome. Campbell is allergic to 95% of pain medications, and in a recent interview with the Auburn Plainsman, she said that marijuana was her only option for pain management. “I’m stuck being a lawbreaker, but I have no other choices,” she said. “Either I can have a quality of life and be a lawbreaker or not break the law and not have a quality of life.”

“I believe this is a matter of choice for individuals with terminal illnesses and chronic pain who have more pain and medical challenges than most of us could ever imagine!” said Representative Laura Hall.

Dr. Michael Saag, Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Center for AIDS Research, supports legalization for medicinal purposes. “Testimony to its medicinal effect is the development and approval of Marinol for those indications,” he said. “I cannot imagine a logical rationale regarding why marijuana is not allowed as a prescription drug.”

“Not only does this bill protect the rights of Alabamians to receive compassionate care, but it also protects their sacred relationship with their physicians. Rep. Hall should be commended,” said Michael Blain of the Drug Policy Alliance.

The Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Public Health Association, among many other medical organizations, have all endorsed the medicinal value of marijuana for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting and appetite stimulation.




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